James Douglas Burbank

James D. Burbank has been in marketing for more than a decade. He has worked in traditional as well as online marketing and he has seen it all. He is also a huge Utah Jazz fan.

James Douglas Burbank has written 12 articles for SB Informer.
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How SMBs can do Human Resources without an HR Department

How to bring great HR to companies that do not have the money for an HR department.

James Douglas Burbank

April 19, 2017

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Small-to-medium businesses have to operate under certain constraints. Simply put, they just do not have the resources to do many things that they might want to do. For instance, a small business cannot ever hope to feature an ad on national networks or organize an event for ten thousand people.

This is the reality of a small business – you struggle, you survive and you slowly grow. Sometimes you grow faster, but more often than not, this growth is incremental.

Until the budget grows and there is more to spend on various expenses, though, SMBs have to improvise. Among other things that get improvised is HR, the discipline of helping employees do the best job they can.

In other words, SMBs often do not have HR departments. Still, this does not mean that they cannot do some HR without an HR department.

Open Channels of Communication

One of the main purposes of an HR department is to encourage communication within a company, or at least that is what should be one of the main purposes. Employers have to be certain that their decisions on the behalf of the company are well-understood by the employees and that everyone is on the same page when it comes to fulfilling tasks.

On the other hand, employees need to know that they can always approach their superiors and that their ideas and suggestions (and complaints) will be heard and acted upon.

Within a small company, this is something that can be done easily without an HR department. It may require some effort on the hand of the owner and the management, but it can be done. It can be done very effectively.

Introduce Structure

In order for HR to work, it needs to be structured and everything needs to be streamlined and easy to understand. For instance, hiring a new employee should never be done offhandedly or in a hurry. Instead, an SMB should devise and then implement a hiring process that will be comprehensive and easy to implement. This is actually not that difficult to do and it only requires some effort.

This kind of structured process should be employed for onboarding, as this will help the company get the most out of their freshly hired employees. The same should go for employee valuation and rewarding.

When it comes to doing HR, a lot of it has to do with implementing certain practices that will provide the basic structure of employee management within a company. This does not have to cost a lot and it can be done after doing some research into other SMBs' practices.

Once these practices and policies have been adopted, it will result in an HR environment that will perhaps even be superior to having an entire department dealing exclusively with these issues.

Use Software

Over the last decade or so, the world of business software has exploded, especially when it comes to SMB solutions that have brought the functionality of previously corporate-grade software to small-to-medium enterprises.

When it comes to HR, the situation is fantastic for SMB owners and management. There is a whole plethora of different types of HR software solutions being tailored to smaller companies and owners can definitely find those that best fit their needs.

For instance, an SMB owner can now use employee benefits software to handle the complex tasks of handling health insurance paperwork and similar issues. The same goes for recruitment, employee feedback and all the other aspects of the HR.


The best thing about these new HR software solutions is that they are finally affordable and scalable, meaning that you can easily add to your service in case your business grows.

Closing Word

The important thing is that SMB owners and managers do not neglect HR. It can truly make a difference between a small company that sinks and the one that thrives. 


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